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8 Jan, 2022 15:42

‘Pro-vax’ tennis great makes claim about unjabbed people in hospital

A former world number one has reacted to figures suggesting that almost all serious Covid cases are among the unvaccinated
‘Pro-vax’ tennis great makes claim about unjabbed people in hospital

The world's former top tennis player, Andy Roddick, has spoken out on vaccines in reaction to statistics seeming to show that the vast majority of people hospitalized with Covid have not received their shots.

Former US Open champion Roddick appeared to respond sarcastically when a reporter reproduced remarks from a doctor at a US healthcare provider pleading with the public to become vaccinated.

The figures showed that 96 percent of Covid patients at hospitals run by provider Novant were unvaccinated, had not been fully jabbed or had not received the boosters that US president Joe Biden has implored citizens to receive.

Dr Sid Fletcher reportedly said that all of the patients who were on ventilators were not fully vaccinated, with some yet to receive a shot.

"We're begging you," Dr Fletcher was quoted as saying. "Please get vaccinated if you have not gotten vaccinated."

Roddick, who calls himself "very pro-vax", clearly took aim at people who have questioned the efficacy of vaccines when he replied to the numbers that made the case for taking the treatment by joking: "If these vaccines would only work."

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes Covid vaccines as being effective at preventing infection, serious illness and death and says that most people who contract the virus are unvaccinated.

It encourages adults to take booster shots, although its guidance accepts that vaccines are not "100 percent effective at preventing infection" and says that some fully-vaccinated people will still catch Covid in 'breakthrough infections'.

International Tennis Hall of Fame member Roddick says the "point" of vaccines is for people to "not die anymore".

The 39-year-old has been keenly following the fiasco around Novak Djokovic's detainment in Melbourne, with the current world number one, who is thought to remain unvaccinated, facing potential deportation from Australia ahead of the first Grand Slam of the year.

"If my neighbor went to Australia tomorrow and didn’t have the proper visa or paperwork, he or she would be sent home," Roddick said on social media, where he has more than 1.4 million followers on Twitter.

"Or if he chose to do so, he would wait for a judge to weigh in on an appeal. In the meantime, he wouldn’t be able to run around the country. It’s just never been that way.

"[Djokovic] could’ve gone home and decided to stay for another ruling. That’s like the opposite of being held captive."

Roddick feels Djokovic's father, Srdjan, made ill-advised remarks in the aftermath of his superstar son being held by customs officials before he was moved to a hotel.

"We shouldn’t gather in the streets," said Djokovic. "Also, I wouldn’t be threatening that while my kid was being held in a foreign country.

"Vaccines have been around for a long time. Schools, the military [and so on] have required vaccines for a long time. This isn’t new.

"I think the question would be better framed as [asking whether] professional athletes [are] capable of spreading a deadly virus. And is there anything that gives us an edge in mitigating that? Yes and yes. It’s not about the individual here."

The Texan feels the world is fortunate to have vaccines that appear to be effective against the Omicron coronavirus strain.

"It dominated the Alpha variant," he said. "As long it has unprotected bodies to mutate in, we will continue to get different variants.

"We are lucky it still protects against serious illness with Omicron. Hopefully we continue to get lucky."